NEW YORK — David St. Marie, a former WWD copy chief, died Thursday at his mother Rita’s home of complications from Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves. He was 53.

At one point, he was hospitalized for 14 months, but was released about a year ago, his mother said.

St. Marie joined WWD’s sister publication, HFD, in 1980, later becoming a copy editor and then copy chief at WWD. He left in 1998 and took a copy editor job at the New York Post.

A science fiction fan and avid reader “with books piled up to the ceiling,” St. Marie was also politically minded, and enjoyed writing poetry and short stories in his spare time, Rita St. Marie said.

“He had an incredible grasp of the technical side of working with computers and was probably the most knowledgeable person on the desk in that respect,” said Mort Sheinman, retired managing editor of WWD.

His computer and copyediting skills often combined to make him a valuable asset to putting out the paper. In more than one instance, when system failures threatened to cause WWD to miss its deadline, he improvised, downloading the entire layout of the paper onto a disc and having it delivered to the printing plant to make the press.

Kat Butler, also a former WWD copy chief who now freelances at the paper, recalled how St. Marie was “always on top of the news,” by fishing on the news wires. She also mentioned his “great sense of humor” and fondness for quoting wacky headlines from the over-the-top tabloid World News.

St. Marie is survived by his mother.

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